Many of West Virginia’s trout waters will turn golden again in April.
For the second year in a row, special stockings of golden rainbow trout will take place in 16 streams and 41 lakes throughout the Mountain State. The “Gold Rush” stockings, all scheduled for April 1-6, focus on waters easily accessible to families with children.
Division of Natural Resources hatchery workers have spent the past year raising 40,000 golden rainbows especially for the stockings. The goldens were separated from other fish and fed a diet rich in a nutrient that deepens their skin color from butter-yellow to a deep golden hue.
Golden rainbow trout are genetically identical to ordinary rainbow trout, but lack black pigment in their skins. First identified in West Virginia’s Petersburg Trout Hatchery in 1955, goldens were first stocked in 1963 and have since become one of the state’s most recognizable game fish species.
DNR officials don’t usually announce specific dates for trout stockings, but they’re making an exception for this year’s Gold Rush. Twenty-six of this year’s Gold Rush stockings will take place on Saturday, April 6.
Jim Hedrick, supervisor of the state’s fish-hatchery system, said the pre-announced stockings will allow parents to make plans to visit nearby lakes and streams with their children.
Lakes scheduled for the April 6 stockings include Anawalt, in McDowell County; Boley, Fayette; Buffalo Fork, Pocahontas; Cacapon Resort, Morgan; Deegan, Harrison; Edwards Run, Hampshire; Fort Ashby, Mineral; Hinkle, Harrison; Kimsey Run, Hardy; New Creek, Grant; Pendleton, Tucker; Pipestem Resort, Mercer; South Mill Creek, Grant; Spruce Knob, Randolph; Summit, Greenbrier; Watoga, Pocahontas; and Warden, Hardy.
Streams scheduled for April 6 stockings include the Burnsville Dam tailwaters, Braxton; Cranberry River, Nicholas/Pocahontas/Webster; Greenbrier River at Cass; Greenbrier River at Durbin; North Bend Dam tailwaters, Ritchie; R.D. Bailey Dam tailwaters, Mingo; Shavers Fork (upper), Randolph; Stonewall Jackson Dam tailwaters, Lewis; and Sutton Dam tailwaters, Braxton.
The rest of the stockings will take place on unspecified dates between April 1 and April 5. Lakes tabbed for unscheduled stockings include Barboursville, Cabell; Bear Rocks, Ohio; Berwind, McDowell
Brandywine, Pendleton; Castleman Run, Brooke/Ohio; Cedar Creek, Gilmer; Chief Logan, Logan; Coopers Rock, Preston; Curtisville, Marion; French Creek, Upshur; Little Beaver, Raleigh; Mason, Monongalia; Mill Creek, Barbour; Mountwood, Wood; Poorhouse, Berkeley; Rock Cliff, Hardy; Rockhouse, Logan; Rollins, Jackson; Seneca, Pocahontas; Teter Creek, Barbour; Thomas Park, Tucker;
Tomlinson Run, Hancock; Tuckahoe, Greenbrier; and Wallback, Clay.
Streams slated for unscheduled April 1-5 stockings include Blackwater River, Tucker; Opequon Creek, Berkeley/Jefferson; Shavers Fork (lower), Randolph; South Branch (Smoke Hole), Pendleton; Tygart Dam tailwaters, Taylor; and Wheeling Creek, Marshall/Ohio.
Anglers who catch specially tagged goldens during the Gold Rush can claim free Gold Rush T-shirts from the DNR. The fishing section of the agency’s website, www.wvdnr.gov, features a Gold Rush link where anglers can download the necessary form and send it, along with the tag, to the DNR office in Elkins. The tag will be returned along with the shirt.
Any angler who catches a golden rainbow, tagged or untagged, during the Gold Rush can fill out and download a special Gold Rush certificate from the DNR’s website.